According to the Equine Welfare Alliance (from USDA statistics), in 2012, 176,223 American horses were shipped to Mexico (110,202), Canada (59,812), and Japan (6,209) for slaughter. 176,223. That’s a 32% increase from 2011 and the most American horses slaughtered since 1993. A Wild for Life Foundation study found that roughly 19% of the horses shipped to slaughter are Thoroughbreds. In other words, about 33,000 Thoroughbreds met cruel and violent ends in abattoirs last year.

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Now consider this: The Jockey Club estimates the 2012 foal “crop” at 22,500, meaning significantly more American Thoroughbreds were exsanguinated than born. Bustling butcher lines. Is this, horseracing industry, what you mean by “responsible aftercare”? Something to ponder as the annual pilgrimage to Saratoga continues…

How they die (from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition):
2010 undercover video of two Canadian slaughterhouses

2011 undercover video of yet another Canadian slaughterhouse

This much should be clear: Horseracing people are involved in horseracing for money, fame, and glory. They race horses for themselves, not out of some sentimental attachment to equines. The opening sentence in Ray Paulick’s recap of the recently departed Monzante’s career says it all: “Just about everyone made money off Monzante….” Read his transaction history and a tragic truth emerges: Monzante was but an instrument in achieving human ends, a common slave.

In an interview with the Daily Racing Form, Monzante’s last owner, Jackie Thacker, said this when discussing the decision to euthanize, “Lord knows we loved that horse. He’d been good to me. It was like he was part of the family.” It is precisely comments like these that arouse such contempt for “The Sport of Kings.” Declarations of love, “part of the family”? I’m fairly certain that shooting up one’s child to mask pain while whip-forcing him to perform (Monzante was injected with the painkiller bute 36 hours before his last race) or selling him off when he becomes unproductive would provoke public indignation, not to mention criminal prosecution. Thacker went on to say, “I don’t know what I could have done. If I could have, I would have done it.”

You, Mr. Thacker, are a fraud; you didn’t care a whit about Monzante beyond his ability to earn for you. Had you the moral spine, you could have retired Monzante to the spacious grounds I’m sure you own. Better yet, you and your entire corrupt industry can, once and for all, stop exploiting a weaker species. Let them be.

Monzante, a former Grade 1 winner and half million dollar lifetime earner, is dead after breaking down at Louisiana’s Evangeline Downs on July 20th. He was nine. A onetime celebrated champion, the gelding, “talent” eroding, had descended to the lowest rung of competition, the decidedly unglamorous claiming race ($4,000, in this case). Monzante was traded three times in the last two years, with each new owner, like a used car shopper, hoping to squeeze out just a few more miles. A simple commodity. In truth, Monzante was worked to death, an ignominious fate surely awaiting many of this summer’s Saratoga starters.

Monzante.10-8-11.TK_

photo credit: Daily Racing Form

Saratoga Race Course recorded its first equine death of the season when four-year-old Black Rhino broke down while training on the Oklahoma Track July 18th. He was euthanized two days later. Last raced at Belmont on June 2nd, this beautiful creature is now dead before he was even done growing. This is horseracing.